Nia Wilson, 18, and her sister Latifah, 26, were innocently transferring to another train at an Oakland Train Station, the MacArthur platform, on Sunday night. Out of the blue, a man ran up to Nia, slit her throat, and stabbed her sister Latifah in the neck. The suspect fled the scene, but was arrested within 24 hours, thanks to surveillance footage and a tip from an anonymous BART customer.
The suspect was identifed as John Cowell, 27, a man with a long criminal history who had recently been released on parole for a conviction of second-degree Robbery. He had restraining orders against him for harassment, and many thought he could easily become violent. He rode the same train with Nia and Latifah, then followed them off the train, according to Heavy.com.
He was arraigned in court on Wednesday for murder, and attempted murder.
“In my close to 30 years of police experience, it was probably one of the most vicious attacks that I’ve seen.” Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Police Chief Carlos Rojas
A planned vigil at 4 p.m. on Monday night turned deadly, as it warped into a massive protest, with about 1000 people chanting and waving signs, according to Blue Lives Matter. The crowd moved from the BART station downtown to a venue where the Proud Boys were meeting.
Violence during a vigil for a girl killed in a random act of violence by a recently released violent criminal?
— Always Hope (@Fear_Not_Ever) July 24, 2018
Some of the protesters reportedly beat one of the members of the Proud Boys, and police deployed tear gas to disperse the crowd. Some in the crowd threw M80s at the police.
An alleged member of the Proud Boys, an alt-right group, was beaten during yesterdays Nia Wilson protest in Oakland.pic.twitter.com/UtTIOJkjp5
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) July 24, 2018
The irony is that police have not yet made a connection between Cowell and any white supremacist group, according to KPIX. They have not ruled it out, but are not done with their investigation. But the people have run with the narrative that white supremacists are responsible for Nia’s death. And many are blaming the police for the violence.
There have been at least 3 murders at BART stations in recent days, but police do not believe they are connected.
— Lucas Guilkey (@lucasguilkey) July 24, 2018
— Raj Mathai (@rajmathai) July 24, 2018
— Megan Cassidy (@meganrcassidy) July 23, 2018
Murder suspect identified in MacArthur stabbing. John Cowell is considered dangerous. Please call 911 if spotted. RIP Nia Wilson. We will bring this suspect to justice. Our thoughts are with the family and friends. Details: https://t.co/DEkTJvJnNe pic.twitter.com/igZU2bdel7
— SFBART (@SFBART) July 23, 2018
The stabbing Sunday night on a BART train in Oakland that killed an 18-year-old woman and injured her sister was the second — and possibly the third — homicide on the transit system in five days.https://t.co/QA0gieFqiu
— San Francisco Chronicle (@sfchronicle) July 23, 2018
“She’s just yelling my name, ‘Tifah, Tifah, Tifah!” Sister who was violently stabbed on an Oakland #BART platform is speaking out about the horrific attack that killed her sister, #NiaWilson. #JusticeForNiahttps://t.co/k1yxYoj57O
— 106 KMEL (@106KMEL) July 25, 2018